Posted by: Blue Lou Logan | November 18, 2011

Ahoy! Still afloat…

Yes, yes, I haven’t posted in a really long time.  I’m planning to get back in it, but I have been busy–I work in Medicare land, and it’s that time of year when old folks inundate customer service with questions, plan changes, and the inevitable errors and problems of a major health plan.  So I haven’t been on the water much, but…

I have been sailing again the wonderful oceans of O’Brian’s Aubrey and Maturin series.  I totally started over, and at this exact moment I’m with the Surprise and crew in Bombay, halfway through H.M.S. Surprise.  There is, as many of my readers probably already know, so much to these novels:  loads of nautical daring-do, amazing amounts of historical detail, characters with depth, Dr. Maturin’s old medicine and Darwin-like naturalist exploration, Brontë-esque romance and courtship, and, simply put, atmosphere to spare.  In fact, one of the things I’m doing this time is actually taking notes.  The series is so epic I decided to make sort of a Cliffs Notes version of each book which will allow me to go back and track characters, events, and ships.  I plan to share these summaries…that will likely be the next major post.

Why does my manager keep taking my ale?

Logan, meanwhile, has been living a quiet, off-season existence.  He did go out for Halloween–at work; at the Castaway Lounge of Dan Ross’ big, long-standing West Seattle party; and at our front door, threatening youngsters who expected candy but instead got the business end of a flintlock (just kidding).  I love Halloween.  I have recently received orders from the CWB to report to their Christmas party for a sort of impromptu, wandering story time.  Aye!!  More on this later.

Clear the mess and pipe up the grog!

The aforementioned Mr. Ross, also known as Capt. Ross of the Mirus (our host for the Duck Dodge, as mentioned in previous posts), introduced Zanne and me to quite possibly the COOLEST BAR EVER.  It is now called the Benbow Room, essentially the rear of the Heartland Café, but for fifty years before that it was the Admiral Benbow Inn, named for the opening location of Treasure Island.  Dan told us how as a kid he used to look in the window of the place and dream of the day he could go in.  It’s awesome.  The place looks like the lower (gun?) deck of a tall ship, with exposed beams, hanging lanterns, and rear gallery windows complete with water effect.  To riff off of one reviewer, this is what adult fans like myself of the original Pirates of the Caribbean at Disneyland WISH was at the end of the ride.  (Vintage Pirates, way before Sparrow, back when the Pooped Pirate was still chasing the “lively lassie.”)  Anyways…the Benbow is equal parts kitsch and dive, a cheap bar with nostalgic theme park vibe.  They also serve a completely legit Dark ‘n’ Stormy:  beautifully dark Gosling’s rum, sharp Gosling’s ginger beer, and even served in a Gosling’s jar!  The nice bartender let me keep the jar–I have a penchant for getting free swag at bars lately–which is now pretty much the only thing I drink out of.  I could keep going, but let’s just say that, in the absence of a liveaboard replica 18th Century Bermuda sloop, I’d move in at the Benbow (or at least pass out under a table) if the landlord kicked us out.

Grandpa Charboneau

The worst news of late is the passing of William Charboneau, Zanne’s grandpa.  His 86 years were full and amazing.  He was a horn player who worked with the legendary Dorsey and Goodman bands.  He was a proud veteran of World War II, recipient of a Purple Heart and two Bronze Stars nonetheless.  As a member of the 89th “Rolling W” Infantry Division, he was witness to horror and history.  Not only was his division the first United States unit to liberate a Nazi concentration camp, Ohrdruf, part of the infamous Buchenwald camps, but he was at the front of his division and thus one of the first Americans ever to witness the atrocities of the Holocaust.  I only had a chance to meet him once, but even in his evening years he remained a man of wit and warmth.  Sure he kept telling the same jokes, but each time it was just different.  Every single word he spoke was enrapturing–heartfelt, important, even profound.  Neither Zanne nor I could make the funeral in Houston, tho’ G’ma and her brother Bill did.  In addition to a few choice guayaberas, I inherited his immaculate gold Gruen pocket watch, an honor I keep with me now everywhere I go.  He was a very, very remarkable and loving man.  Salute to you, sir.  I only wish I could have known you better.

Goodbye, State Liquor Store

On a more upbeat note, the best news of late has been the liberation of liquor in Washington State.  Ever since Prohibition, Washington has been a “control state,” and the Liquor Control Board has maintained a pious monopoly on hard alcohol. For those of you in more freethinking places, this means that when I want me rum, I have to go to my local Washington State Liquor Store; I can’t simply get it from the local grocery store, much less some wonderland like Spec’s.  With Initiative 1183, the voters of this often bass ackwards state have finally moved booze into the actual modern era of the free market.  Sure, Costco dumped millions into the campaign; why wouldn’t they want to profit from us lushes?  Will this mean drunken kids?  Not if the Control Board actually does their job and focuses on enforcing the law rather than trying to make a buck off of it.  And what of the employees losing their jobs in this tough economy?  Well, Costco is apparently beneficent enough to offer them all interviews; c’mon, who better to run the liquor section then someone who already has?  But the real point is this:  The government should not be in the business of alcohol.  Separation of church and state?  How about separation of hooch and state?!  I look forward to the actual transition next June, when I can–imagine that!–get what booze I want, when I want it, and where I want it.  Victory at last!

Lastly but not leastly, when Zanne and I are not trying to just keep our ship afloat, help family, or drown our sorrows while watching Bitchin’ Kitchen, we are embarking on a major project.  We call it Roadside Distractions.  Remember road trips as a kid, and all the weird things you saw from the backseat?  Motel signs portraying tropical oases in neon?  Concrete dinosaurs?  Likenesses of Bigfoot carved with a chainsaw?  We do, and we have the faded, fuzzy snapshots all digitized to prove it.  Yet these symbols of American wanderlust–and plain oddness–keep getting destroyed, disappearing into disposable memory.  So our cameras are ready again, now on a rescue mission.  Our goal is a sort of generation-wide family album of the highway bizarre.  We’re even going to recycle trashed books to do it.  As soon as we can, we are going to launch a funding site on Kickstarter.  Lots more to come.

So I have hardly been idle.  OK, there’s a lot of flopping and drinking, but you expect that from me, right?  But there is stuff to report.  Close to 3,000 people have now dropped in since the beginning of the Journal of Blue Lou Logan, even though I haven’t written in over two months.  Apparently I may actually have an audience, and I would hate to disappoint!


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